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181-183 Madison Avenue: Certificate of Appropriateness

WHEREAS, The building owner of 181-183 Madison Avenue, known as the Madison Belmont Building, is applying for a Certificate of Appropriateness for modification to the storefront to introduce ADA compliant entrance doors to the ground floor retail and signage to the exterior Landmark designated in 2011; and

WHEREAS, 181-183 Madison Avenue, is located on the Southeast corner of 34th Street and Madison Avenue, was constructed in 1924-25 by highly prominent & traditional architects Warren & Wetmore; and

WHEREAS, The 18 stories tall, L-shaped building is in transitional style combining neo-Renaissance with early Modern designs and Art Deco style; and

WHEREAS, The building was designed for the Merchants & Manufacturers Exchange of New York in the Silk District using a combination of classical base, shaft and capital, with large cornice and modern detailing in variegated pink brick, terra cotta ornaments and red metal window frames with dark spandrels; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant, wishes to subdivide the ground floor retail space, which is currently configured as a single large retail store with one entrance located on Madison Avenue to up to three retail spaces, by introducing three pairs of metal and glass balanced doors with new glass transom above and narrow flanking sidelight; and

WHEREAS The doors will be placed in a balanced symmetrical stepped manner along 34th Street’s sloped sidewalk, and the eastern and center doors will be 6’-5” x 8’-2” tall and the western door 6’-5” x 9’-2” and all will be ADA compliant; and

WHEREAS, The storefront assemblies sit on a concrete base with ornamental ironwork spanning between pilasters and the original fabric will be refurbished and reused to replace missing fabric and any removed ironwork will be salvaged and stored on site; and

WHEREAS, The new doors and frames will be installed flush with the existing storefront and all new finishes and profiles will match the existing; and

WHEREAS There is no proposed change to the building’s 34th Street non- ADA compliant entrance that is stylized with unusual iron gates featuring leaves & natural motifs by master iron smith Edgar Brandt; and

WHEREAS The generic sign locations are indicated above the new doors and center on each storefront bay; and the applicant described the signs as non-illuminated and to be located more than 18” behind the glass and the applicant will submit a sign master plan in the future; and

WHEREAS, The applicant will provide CB5 all relevant legal information about any legal action taken against the retail space owners for non-compliance with ADA laws, including alterations agreements; and

WHEREAS, The alteration is appropriate as it is a restoration and installation of a retail solution that brings the non-compliant retail space into ADA compliance without altering the original historic entrance and aesthetic; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application for a Certificate of Appropriateness for a new storefront and doors modification to 181-183 Madison Avenue.

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